Thomas Samuel Venable, banker and wholesale merchant, of the firm of Venable & Mcjohnson, of Owensboro, was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, June 17, 1840. He came with his father to Owensboro November 21, 1860, having been educated in his native county, and for many years has been a member of the above mentioned firm, wholesale and retail dealers in grain and seeds, and president of the Owensboro Savings Bank. He was elected elder in the
Presbyterian Church in 1870, and is greatly devoted to his church and its good work. In politics, he is for the prohibition of the liquor traffic. The members of the Venable family have been staunch Presbyterians as far back as their history can be traced.
Mr. Venable was married August 2, 1864, to Sallie Quicksall Anderson, daughter of James B and Mary (Robertson) Anderson. She was born at “Wood Lawn,” her father’s home, near Owensboro, November 13, 1844. Their children’s names are: Virginia Woodson, born July 4 1865-graduated from the Owensboro High School June, 1880; also graduated from the High School of Detroit, Michigan, in 1882; married James Truman Shaw of Detroit, May 14, 1889, and resides in Detroit, where her husband is in business.
James Anderson Venable, born March 9, 1868 graduated from the Owensboro High School in 1885; immediately entered the Owensboro Savings Bank as clerk; remained in the bank until January, 1889, when his uncle, T. S. Anderson, who had been owner of the bank, having gone to Detroit and engaged in the same business, James accepted a position in that institution, and in 1892, without his solicitation, was elected Cashier of the Michigan Car Company; afterwards engaged with his brother-in-law, James T. Shaw, in the grain business in Detroit, under the firm name of J. S. Lapham & Company.
Mary Ann Venable, born October 27, 1875; died May 8, 1880.
Matilda Tyler Venable, born December 4, 1876.
Elizabeth Thompkins Venable, born September 21, 1882.
Samuel Lewis Venable (father) was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, January 8, 1803. He received a very fine education, and was a distinguished Latin and Greek scholar. On reaching his majority, his father gave him a farm and a number of slaves, having given all of his. sons the same start in life. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church and a man of most excellent character. He was married October 3, 1833, to Virginia Woodson Bransford, daughter of Benjamin Bransford of Cumberland County, Virginia. She was born October 16, 1813, and died September 21, 1895. She was descended on her mother’s side from the noted family of Woodsons, who intermarried with the Venables. There were three sons and one daughter in this family: Goodridge Wilson, born August 16, 1836; Nathaniel Benjamin, born August 29, 1838; Thomas Samuel, born June 17, 1840, and Elizabeth Mary, born November 29, 1844.
Nathaniel Venable (grandfather) was born in Virginia, March 28, 1768, and died in 1837. He married his first cousin, Martha Venable, generally called Madam Pattie Venable, February 28,
1799. He was a very wealthy planter of Virginia, owning large tracts of land and several hundred slaves.
Abraham Venable (great-grandfather) was born in Virginia in January, 1725, and died in 1778. He married Elizabeth Micheaux, who was born June 18, 1731.
Abraham Venable (great-great-grandfather) was born March 22, 1700, and died March 16, 1768. He married Martha Davis, who was born in 1703, and died in 1765.
The earliest ancestor of the Venable family of whom anything is known came from New Rouen, in Normandy, France, where there is a town called Venables, so named from this family. He accompanied William the Conqueror, and took part in the battle of Hastings. He settled in the
County Palatinate of Chester, and was one of the Palatine barons of the County. About the close of the Seventeenth Century two of the younger brothers of the family, Abraham and Joseph Venable, emigrated to America. Joseph went to the Colony of Lord Baltimore and settled at Snow Hill (now West) Virginia. A license was obtained for the erection of a Presbyterian house of worship on Joseph Venable’s land, and now, after a lapse of more than a century and a half, the Presbyterian Church which was then organized still prospers at Snow Hill.
The other brother, Abraham, journeyed up the James River and settled in Hanover, now Fluvanna County, Virginia, and there married a widow, whose maiden name was Mildred Lewis, and these two were the great-great-great-grandparents of Thomas S. Venable.
Mr. Venable’s grandmother—who was a granddaughter of Nannie Micheaux and her husband, Richard Woodson—distinctly remembered hearing her grandmother relate the early history of the family.
In the reign of Louis XIV, during the religious persecution consequent upon the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, there lived a man named Roche in the city of Sedan, who was Madam Pattie Venable’s great-great-grandfather. He had three daughters, the eldest about eighteen, who, as was the custom, had been examined by the priests or government officials; and her father, fearing she would be taken from him and placed in a Catholic school, sent her and his married niece, who had an infant child, to a seaport, that they might embark for Holland. They were escorted by men dressed in women’s clothes. The guards were attracted by the crying of the child, and “nine lusty men captured and carried them to prison.” The father was permitted to ransom his daughter and take her home, but his niece was retained in prison and was required to walk the streets every morning, exposed to the ridicule and scoffs of the Catholics, as a penalty for her attempt to escape. Her husband had gone to Holland previously under the guise of a ship carpenter.
Mr. Roche, after paying a certain amount of tribute annually for the privilege of living in peace, determined again to send his daughters to Holland. On the journey Susanna Roche, the younger daughter (who was mother Venable’s great-grandmother), was taken very sick and was taken to a public house. While there they were suspected of being Huguenots, and narrowly escaped the vigilance of the soldiers. They went thence to Amsterdam, where their father visited them and provided them with comforts, for he said that the more he had been persecuted the more the Lord had prospered him. Their mother also went to see them, carrying money in her hair.
The elder of the two sisters married and went to the West Indies. The younger, Susanna Roche, married Abram Michaux. She was a lace maker while in Holland, and her husband was a gauze weaver. They remained in Holland until they had five or six children, when they came to America and located first in Stafford County, Virginia, and later, when they proposed to go to Manikin, the previous settlers there objected, saying they were not entitled to their portion of the land granted by King William to the Huguenots, as they had not come in time, but the king thought differently and decided in their favor. However, they declined settling there, and took up land on the James River at the place now known as Michaux Ferry.
Susanna (Roche) Michaux was the mother of twelve children, seven daughters and five sons. The daughters were: Jane, who married Le Grande; Susanna, married Quinn; Judith, married Morgan; Elizabeth, married Lanbourn Woodson; Nannie, married Richard Woodson; Esther, married Alexander Cunningham, and there was one daughter who did not marry. The sons were: Jacob, who married Judith Woodson; John, James and Paul, who remained out of wedlock.
Source: Biographical Cyclopedia of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. John M. Gresham Company, Chicago, Philadelphia, 1896.